Resident Officer

The DeKalb Police Department announces the implementation of an enhanced Resident Officer Program (ROP) within the city. Successful in other communities such as Elgin and Oak Park, this will be a pilot program for DeKalb. The Resident Officer Program of DeKalb was created to improve the quality of life within individual neighborhoods in the City of DeKalb by assigning an officer to reside in designated neighborhoods and directly partnering with residents to find solutions to neighborhood problems.

First ROP


The first area to be identified and staffed by the resident officer program was the public housing neighborhood located in the Lewis Court Apartments on North 14th Street, beginning in November 2004. An officer has resided at that location ever since, being equipped with a take-home marked squad car and given the responsibility of assisting with neighborhood issues both within the housing complex and the adjacent Pleasant Street neighborhood. He has performed these duties while remaining on a traditional patrol shift. An additional bilingual officer has assisted with neighborhood meetings in the area as well.

Reports


The Housing Authority and neighborhood residents have reported being very satisfied with their efforts. Subsequent to the officers’ intervention, the quality of life within the neighborhood has improved as public safety issues have been addressed.

Underlying Problems


Though crime is still of primary concern, there are many issues and factors that contribute to the underlying root of problems in neighborhoods. Seldom will a short-term solution be the answer to ongoing complex problems. Enabling residents of a neighborhood to become problem solvers is necessary for long-term neighborhood improvements.

The enhanced ROP program placed a police officer in a city-owned home directly into the Pleasant Street neighborhood. The home, one that was in need of rehabilitation, was improved adding value to the neighborhood and improving its aesthetic qualities. This ROP officer is not only a point of contact for policing problems, but will also be able to reach out to other agencies in an attempt to solve whatever problems may be facing the neighborhood.

An additional ROP officer was added to the South 5th Street, East Taylor Street and Sweet Park neighborhood.  This officer is provided an apartment in this neighborhood and engages in similar duties as the other ROP officers.  This officer pays special attention to the Taylor Street Plaza high-rise community and acts as a bridge between the police department, residents and management of the high-rise.  The ROP officer also addresses neighborhood concerns and continues to have a positive impact on the neighborhood. 


Objectives


Objectives of the ROP officer include:
  • Acting as a liaison with other city departments and social service agencies
  • Assisting residents in the development of neighborhood initiatives and organizations
  • Empowering residents to work together to improve their neighborhood, and participating in youth activities by building relationships through direct involvement, education, and mentoring
  • Identifying and prioritizing crime, community, and quality of life issues within the neighborhood
  • Serving as the neighborhood’s police officer through the development of close working relationships
  • Working with neighborhood groups to solve identified problems